Throw in Some Extras
If your house isn’t selling as quickly as you’d like or if the market is proving to be tougher than you thought, consider offering little enticements to potential buyers. You could offer to pay some or all of the points on the loan, buy down the interest rate, pay closing costs, or pay for inspections or compliance work. You could also offer to leave some of the furniture or appliances in place, or offer a new appliance, paint or carpet allowance, or even offer to pre-pay for some utilities or services. These little perks can make a huge difference to buyers.
Pay the points
What are points? Points are fees charged by lenders to provide financing. In general one point equals one percent of the mortgage balance. For instance a buyer paying one point on a $200,000 loan will pay $2000 in loan fees. As an incentive to write an offer, some sellers offer to pay points on behalf of the buyer.
Buy down the interest rate
Many buyers are unaware that they can secure a lower interest rate by paying additional points at closing. Just like the points discussed above, a point, when buying down the interest rate, is 1% of the sales price. Offering to buy down the interest rate can save a potential buyer thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. If a buyer could save thousands of dollars by choosing one home over another it might very well sway the buyer’s decision.
Pay for closing costs
Closing costs are the fees charged by lenders, escrow companies, and title companies to process all of the paperwork necessary to close the sale of a property. These costs are usually divided among the seller and the buyer. Some sellers will offer to pay the closing costs out of the proceeds of the sale. However, if you are offering to pay the buyer’s portion of the closing costs, it is wise to put a cap on the amount of closing costs you are willing to pay by stating that you will pay “up to” a certain predetermined amount.
Pay for inspections, appraisals or compliance work
Most buyers will want to have a professional home inspector examine a property to make sure there are no major defects with the home. Additionally, all lenders will require an appraisal before funding a buyer’s loan. The seller can offer to pay for the inspection and/or appraisal or to reimburse those costs to the buyer at closing. If any defects are revealed by the inspector or appraiser, the buyer will ask to have most, if not all, of those defects repaired. To secure a sale, many sellers will offer to pay for these repairs or compliance work (repairs required by the lender to meet their underwriter’s requirements) “up to” a reasonable amount. If a buyer requests repairs the seller doesn’t want the hassle of addressing, some sellers offer a credit for “non-recurring closing costs”. This credit goes to the buyers as cash in their pockets at closing.
If a home needs some updates, but the seller does not have the money to do the work, he/she might consider providing the new buyer with an allowance. An allowance is a credit given to the buyer to compensate for accepting the home’s defects – things like worn out carpets, failing plumbing, or poor drainage. This credit may be in the form of a reduced price or a payment made to the buyer at closing.
Including the appliances in the sale of a home can be a big incentive to buyers, especially first time buyers who may not already own appliances. Many sellers are now offering buyers brand new appliance packages. Whether first time buyers or tenth time buyers, just about everyone loves new appliances.
Adjusting to a new mortgage payment can be stressful to home buyers. One way to make it easier for a buyer is to pre-pay some utilities for a certain period of time or a certain amount of money. This could range from pre-paying for gas, electricity, cable TV, or even internet services. The amount for money spent doesn’t have to be much, but that little bit of consideration can go a long way in earning good will from a potential buyer.
Some sellers throw in a pre-paid service like a lawn mowing service, pool cleaning service, or even a housekeeping service, to encourage buyers to step up and write an offer.
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